From the prizewinning author of the acclaimed Last Orders, The Light of Day, and Waterland, a powerfully moving new novel set in present-day England, but against the background of a global "war on terror" and about things that touch our human core.
On an autumn day in 2006, on the Isle of Wight, Jack Luxton - once a farmer, now the proprietor of a seaside caravan park - receives the news that his brother Tom, not seen for years, has been killed in combat in Iraq. The news will have its far-reaching effects for Jack and his wife, Ellie, and compel Jack to make a crucial journey: to receive his brother's remains, but also to return to the land of his past and of his most secret, troubling memories. A gripping, hauntingly intimate, and compassionate story that moves toward a fiercely suspenseful climax, Wish You Were Here translates the stuff of headlines into heartwrenching personal truth.
In his ninth novel, Swift returns to the same motifs - broken family relationships, English landscapes, and an internal narrative based on memory - that run through nearly all of his books... Swift delivers a truly remarkable story about one very unhappy family. He is a deeply affecting writer, one who explores the murky crevices of his characters and their lives... While a reader may not emerge emotionally unscathed, they will have had a deeply felt experience in reading this dark and aching novel that will resonate with you long after the last page is read. (Reviewed by Jennifer Dawson Oakes).
I cannot tell you exactly how long after I finished this book that I sat, holding it, in stunned silence for - but it was light when I finished it and dark when I put it down. Some books can do that to you. This is one of them... Jack is a sort of Heathcliff type of character... Totally captivating... There's such a beautiful tone to the writing and it's so moving that I cannot imaging it failing to move anyone... Swift has already won one Man Booker prize - this deserves another nomination.
Swift's best since Waterland.... It begins to read like a thriller... Here Swift parcels out information like an Agatha Christie detective... The pace quickens and quickens. Almost against your will you find yourself racing through Swift's brief chapters.
Starred Review. Swift has written a slow-moving but powerful novel about the struggle to advance beyond grief and despair and to come to grips with the inevitability of change.
Starred Review. Profound empathy and understated eloquence mark a novel so artfully nuanced that the last few pages send the reader back to the first few, with fresh understanding.
Starred Review. Swift creates an elegant rawness with language that carries the reader through several layers of Jack's consciousness at once...
The Sunday Times Wish You Were Here is a work of wide, ambitious span... Recounted in pages of affecting, powerfully sober prose... What gives [the novel] a compelling hold is Swift's real strength, the authenticity that hallmarks his portrayals of people in crisis.
The Daily Mail (UK)
An acutely observed, compelling read.
The Times (London)
Like its predecessors, most notably Waterland and Last Orders, Wish You Were Here is a book of quiet emotional integrity... The novel expertly explores the poignant contrast between irrepressible human hope and the constraints within which we live our finite lives.
An extraordinary novel... Novelists, being on the whole brainy people, like to write about brainy people, or make their characters better with words than they would be in real life... But as Swift's novels so brilliantly prove, just because someone doesn't have a way with words doesn't mean they can't experience deep emotion, or be powerfully moved by the forces of history and time... I doubt there is a better novelist than Swift for this kind of story
Scotland on Sunday
Like Ian McEwan's Saturday, or Sebastian Faulks's A Week in December, this novel draws on events from the news pages... But this emotionally complex novel is not mere reportage... It is Swift's most intimately revelatory novel yet... This is a profound and powerful portrait of a nation and a man in crisis that, for all its gentle intensity, also manages to be an unputdownable read.
The Sunday Express (UK)
Swift is as brilliant as ever on the potency of family myth... This novel is often astonishingly moving.
In Graham Swift's novel, Wish You Were Here, the Luxton family twice loses their dairy herds to mass slaughter in the wake of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Foot and Mouth Disease
(FMD) outbreaks. Two very distinct and separate diseases, BSE and FMD, when they surface in agriculture, can be utterly devastating to farmers and national economies.
BSE is more commonly known as "Mad Cow Disease" and is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that attacks cows specifically. It causes the brain and spinal cord of affected animals to suffer a spongy
deterioration, so called because of the formation of tiny sponge-like holes in the brain tissue. The United Kingdom has been most extremely impacted by BSE where it was first identified by a laboratory in November 1986.
Some scientists believe that, in rare instances, humans can develop a degenerative neurological disorder with similar symptoms to BSE, known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), by eating food contaminated with brain, spinal cord or digestive tracts of infected cows. Although...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...